If you care about animals, there are times when you wonder if you’ve stumbled off this world and into hell.
That’s how I felt when we saw him through the car windshield—a monster standing in the road, stark and alone under a full moon, eyes rimmed in blood.
“What is that?” I gasped.
“No,” uttered my friend Melissa, in the tone of voice you use when you’ve just heard very bad news. “Oh no.”
“A dog?” I peered through the glass.
He shambled off the road toward Melissa’s side of the car.
“I’m afraid so,” she said.
We had been minding our own business, Melissa Beamish and I, returning from our car tour around the island—one of the few days off either of us had taken in months—she from nearly half a year on her extraordinary mission volunteering in animal shelters around the world, including Animal Rescue Kefalonia (ARK); I from trying to rehab our old house here in Kefalonia, working on articles, and fostering a couple of street dogs.
Relaxed after a day of chatting and enjoying the eye candy—beaches, archaeological sites, and spectacular views of Greece's Ionian Sea—we were headed to my house for a late dinner.
Then suddenly, in the tiny foothill village of Troianata, there he was.
How foolish to have hoped we might make it through a day of sightseeing on this island without finding a dog in need. And dire need at that.
In two decades of dog rescue I had never seen anything more jolting. The eyes: red, inflamed, bloody.
Wait. What? Bloody eyes?
My foot moved to the brake, but indecisively. Of course we had to stop and do something. But what? Out in the middle of nearly nowhere, at ten o’clock at night, with all three of the island’s veterinarians’ offices closed?
I pulled the car over and killed the engine. That, for some reason, triggered the dog to bark.
Melissa didn’t waste a second. She jumped right out of the car.
“Careful!” I warned. “Keep your distance.”
Telling Melissa Beamish to stay away from animal in need is like telling a fish not to swim. But she’s no fool; she gave the dog his space.
“His legs,” she whispered.
We stood together in the road staring at one of the worst things either of us had ever seen: a tall, emaciated, black and white dog covered in lesions. Blood oozed from the open sores and inflamed skin in a mask of horror around his eyes, as well as on his paws and legs.
I could barely believe my eyes. I didn’t want to.
For more about this dog:
Read Melissa Beamish's excellent blog about her round-the-world trip volunteering in animal shelters.
Please respect copyright law. If you like this article and would like to use it, please feel free to copy only the first paragraph with a link back to this page. To use more, kindly request permission at youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom.